Swatch Your Jaw If you're physically testing out foundations, start with a clean, moisturized face and zero makeup, and test on your jawline. "With African American skin tones, faces are lighter than your body, so don't use your hands or artificial lighting," says Mills. Start by testing three shades: one slightly lighter, one that looks like it matches your skin exactly and one slightly darker than your skin tone. Apply each one in a line from the cheek to the jawline and resist the urge the blend. Wait about five minutes (10-15 minutes is best, if you have the time). This gives the foundation time to warm up and mix with your facial oils to reveal its true color, says Mills. "The one that "disappears" is the one you should go with."
Once you've found your color family and general tone, Mills also offers a few tried and true tips:
Black skin tends to skew oily, so try mineral bases along with a primer
When in doubt, look for warmer bronze shades to avoid looking ashy.
Now that you're ready to shop, here are our top picks of lines that have the most range of undertones for dark skin tones.
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